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Facts for Features
CB13-FF.03
Jan. 29, 2013

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Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick's Day (March 17): 2013

Originally a religious holiday to honor St. Patrick, who introduced Christianity to Ireland in the fifth century, St. Patrick's Day has evolved into a celebration for all things Irish. The world's first St. Patrick's Day parade occurred on March 17, 1762, in New York City, featuring Irish soldiers serving in the English military. This parade became an annual event, with President Truman attending in 1948. Congress proclaimed March as Irish-American Heritage Month in 1995, and the president issues a proclamation commemorating the occasion each year.

Population Distribution

34.5 million

Number of U.S. residents who claimed Irish ancestry in 2011. This number was more than seven times the population of Ireland itself (4.68 million). Irish was the nation's second most frequently reported ancestry, trailing only German.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>
Ireland Central Statistics Office
<http://www.cso.ie/en/media/csoie/releasespublications/documents/latestheadlinefigures/popmig_2012.pdf>

150,990

Number of Irish-born naturalized U.S. residents in 2011.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

39.3 years old

Median age of U.S. residents who claim Irish ancestry is higher than the U.S. residents median age as a whole (37.3 years).
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

12.9%

Percent of New York state residents who were of Irish ancestry in 2011. This compares with a rate of 11.1 percent for the nation as a whole.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/DP02/0400000US36>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/DP02/0100000US>

Irish-Americans Today

33.3%

Percentage of people of Irish ancestry, 25 or older, who had a bachelor's degree or higher. In addition, 92.9 percent of Irish-Americans in this age group had at least a high school diploma. For the nation as a whole, the corresponding rates were 28.5 percent and 85.9 percent, respectively.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/DP02/0100000US>

$57,319

Median income for households headed by an Irish-American, higher than the $50,502 for all households. In addition, 7.3 percent of families of Irish ancestry were in poverty, lower than the rate of 11.7 percent for all Americans families.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/DP03/0100000US>

41%

Percentage of employed civilian Irish-Americans 16 or older who worked in management, professional and related occupations. Additionally, 25.9 percent worked in sales and office occupations; 16.0 percent in service occupations; 9.3 percent in production, transportation and material moving occupations; and 7.8 percent in construction, extraction, maintenance and repair occupations.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>

69.3%

Percentage of householders of Irish ancestry who owned the home in which they live, with the remainder renting. For the nation as a whole, the homeownership rate was 64.6 percent.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/S0201//popgroup~541>
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/bkmk/table/1.0/en/ACS/11_1YR/DP04/0100000US>

Places to Spend the Day

7

Number of places in the United States named Shamrock, the floral emblem of Ireland. Mount Gay-Shamrock, W.Va., and Shamrock, Texas, were the most populous, with 1,585 and 1,929 residents, respectively. Shamrock Lakes, Ind., had 228 residents and Shamrock, Okla., 101. Three Shamrock Townships in Minnesota, Nebraska and Missouri had populations of 1,273, 301 and 40, respectively.
Source: 2010 Demographic Profile
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_5YR_DP05>

13

Number of places in the United States that share the name of Ireland's capital, Dublin. The most populous of these places is Dublin, Calif., with a population of 43,572.
Source: 2011 American Community Survey

If you're still not into the spirit of St. Paddy's Day, then you might consider paying a visit to Emerald Isle, N.C., with 3,702 residents.
Source: 2010 Demographic Profile
<http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ACS_11_5YR_DP02>

Other appropriate places in which to spend the day: the township of Irishtown, Ill., several places or townships named Clover (in South Carolina, Illinois, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin) and the township of Cloverleaf, Minn.

Irish Imports and Celebrations!

In the month of St. Patrick's Day, the value of U.S. imports of beer made from malt increased, going from $288,073,597 in February 2012 to $374,076,005 in March 2012; in April of that same year the value of beer imports went back down to $334,769,134.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau: Foreign Trade Division USA Trade ® Online U.S. Import and Export Merchandise trade
<https://www.usatradeonline.gov/>
<http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/>

The pattern was the same for nonalcoholic beer. The value of its U.S. imports increased, going from $1,114,450 in February 2012 to $1,234,910 in March 2012; in April of that same year the value of nonalcoholic beer imports went back down to $1,173,111.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau: Foreign Trade Division USA Trade ® Online U.S. Import and Export Merchandise trade
<https://www.usatradeonline.gov/>

$39.4 billion

The total value of imports from Ireland in 2011 to the U.S.
Source: Foreign Trade Division
<http://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/statistics/product/enduse/imports/c4190.html>

$532.1 million

The total value of alcoholic beverages except wine and related products imported from Ireland in 2011 to the United States. The total amount of wine and related products imported from Ireland in 2011 to the U.S. was $6.0 million.
Source: Foreign Trade Division
<https://www.usatradeonline.gov/>

$2.8 billion and $28.6 million

Value of beef and cabbage imported to the U.S. in 2011. Corned beef and cabbage is a traditional St. Patrick's Day dish.
Source: Foreign Trade Division
<https://www.usatradeonline.gov/>

Following is a list of observances typically covered by the Census Bureau’s Facts for Features series:

  • African-American History Month (February)
  • Super Bowl
  • Valentine's Day (Feb. 14)
  • Women's History Month (March)
  • Irish-American Heritage Month (March)/
          St. Patrick's Day (March 17)
  • Earth Day (April 22)
  • Asian/Pacific American Heritage Month (May)
  • Older Americans Month (May)
  • Cinco de Mayo (May 5)
  • Mother's Day
  • Hurricane Season Begins (June 1)
  • Father's Day
  • The Fourth of July (July 4)
  • Anniversary of Americans With Disabilities Act (July 26)
  • Back to School (August)
  • Labor Day
  • Grandparents Day
  • Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15-Oct. 15)
  • Unmarried and Single Americans Week
  • Halloween (Oct. 31)
  • American Indian/Alaska Native Heritage Month (November)
  • Veterans Day (Nov. 11)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • The Holiday Season (December)

Editor’s note: The preceding data were collected from a variety of sources and may be subject to sampling variability and other sources of error. Facts for Features are customarily released about two months before an observance in order to accommodate magazine production timelines. Questions or comments should be directed to the Census Bureau’s Public Information Office: telephone: 301-763-3030; fax: 301-763-3762; or e-mail: <PIO@census.gov>.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | PIO@census.gov | Last Revised: July 15, 2014